As an independent music teacher you may feel like you do enough already, but it's really important to market yourself if you don't have a full studio or a waiting list. The best and easiest way to get new students is by being so awesome that all of your current students will go to their friends and family and tell them why they should take lessons from you.
We musicians tend to be creative and also a bit disorganized. That's why it's a great idea to give important information to your students in a monthly newsletter. We all have had that “Oops” moment when we remember the important thing to tell them or to hand them a printed reminder is the minute after the student leaves.
By setting aside some time at the end of the month to organize your thoughts and ideas for the next month you’ll turn yourself into a better and more organized teacher too. Parents will be happy to have information nicely laid out for them. Yes, some parents need and appreciate frequent reminders of the next recital, even though I give out all the dates in August. (Now that I have my own child, I have sadly found out that I can be that parent with other activities! I have lost the T-ball schedule more than once and wished it had been emailed to me!)
In the past we could rely on social media outlets like Facebook to reach our clients; however with the inconsistent way they show information it's important to have personal communication.
If you are shy about letting parents know that you need more students, the newsletter is the perfect format to get the word out! It's important to stay fresh in your client’s mind and remind them how amazing you are. Once you start sending a newsletter out it may be tempting to send out information the day you have it, but I would suggest no more than once a week and no less than once a month. You want the newsletter to feel special so that parents will want to open it!
Some suggestions to make writing your newsletter a breeze:
- Have a section for important dates like group lessons and recitals and a student of the month section.
- Remind students which practice contest is running and what “special week” was held last month (I do lots of quick bench games with matching songs and candy treats. For example last week was ice cream week at my studio!)
- Include something a little more personal. At the beginning of magazines there is often a special personal note from the editor. This is the vibe I’m going for.
- Publish a few fantastic pictures of your students to remind them of what a fun and unique teacher you are and assure readership. Everyone enjoys seeing a picture of their kid highlighted, so be sure to include everyone throughout the year!
- After learning the hard way, I convert each newsletter into.pdf format, this way everyone can easily view the newsletter.
You can find generic newsletter templates in programs like Microsoft Word, or find free programs; however a better use of your time may be to purchase a newsletter template specific to the kind of teacher you are. This year I asked the wonderful Plucky Pianista Melody Payne to create some extra special piano teacher newsletter templates, as I was unsatisfied with the generic teacher newsletters I had been using (and it’s nice to get a new theme every year too!) I’m so thrilled that she was happy to oblige and you can find her fantastic templates in the teacherspayteachers.com store here:
While it would be nice if everybody was in the 21st-century, there are clients who need printed newsletters. Consider how many hard copies you need. (We all know how expensive color ink is!) I usually print at least one to hang on my bulletin board. I send a text reminder to a few who don’t check email regularly to let them know that the newsletter email has been sent.
If you have a website you can post your newsletter there too, which is a great way to let prospective new students see what you have to offer! However if you live in a very competitive area, you may want to save this information for your private students! You can view my latest newsletter at my website here http://violinjudy.com/current-students/
I hope these tips help you become a more organized and effective teacher!
About the Author: “Ms. Judy Naillon, or “ViolinJudy” is a dedicated Piano and Violin teacher, who over the past 20 years has given private lessons in Winfield and Derby, KS and now is located in Wichita, KS. Her full time job is her private studio, playing with Wichita Symphony, managing and playing with her String Quartet and, managing her wonderful family. She received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Wichita State University, and has played Violin in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for the past 12 years. A MTNA member, she has been fortunate to attend many national conventions.
“I love coming up with creative ideas to help my students be successful, including composing pieces for them, making up new games to make theory fun, planning awesome group lessons and scouring the internet for all things violin & piano... from worksheets to the latest iPad app. I was hesitant at first, but I love seeing my students (young and old) delight in all that an iPad can offer! I'm proud to be a certified JoyTunes iPad Piano teacher and able to gift my students with access to this amazing app! There are so many new options that can really make practicing FUN! Join me; I'll help to get your students in a joyful learning spirit!”
Connect with Judy: Visit her website at http://www.violinjudy.com